Yes it happened. I finally saw Hamilton.
Like many others, I became obsessed with listening to the musical of Hamilton back in 2016 after hearing everyone talking about it and I knew I wanted to see the show for myself as soon as I could. Sadly that was never going to happen in New York without selling a kidney in order to afford the ticket prices. So when they announced that Hamilton would be opening in London, I immediately put myself on the mailing list and waited for booking to open.
Last January I booked tickets for us to see Hamilton the moment that pre-booking opened – the only downside was that we would have to wait another 415 days before we could see it but at least we had tickets!
Finally the day arrived and to say I was a little excited would be an understatement. We caught the train into London early in the afternoon to give ourselves plenty of time before the show. Our hotel was only a short walk from Victoria Station so naturally, we had to walk past the Victoria Palace Theatre and take a photo. The area was still a building site but nowhere near as bad as the last time we had walked past.
We stayed at the Hub by Premier Inn by Westminster Abbey which was only a ten minute walk from the theatre along Victoria Street. It was my first time staying in one of the Hub hotels but I absolutely loved my stay there. We booked a “Bigger” room and I can honestly say that the bed is the most comfortable UK hotel bed I’ve ever slept in. We had stopped on the walk to the hotel to get some food which we ate in the room before having a shower and getting ready for the evening.
We arrived at the Victoria Palace just before 7:00pm and joined the long line to enter the theatre. I had read that the line would be long but I also knew it moved quickly so was not worried at all. Hamilton operates a ticketless system in order to beat the ticket touts and it seems to be working well. They were making sure that everyone knew that the whole party had to enter the theatre at the same time and were pulling people out of the line if they were still waiting for people to arrive. Towards the front of the line someone checked my photo ID to make sure my name matched my booking and then directed us to another person at the door of the theatre who swiped my credit card and printed our tickets. The whole process from joining the line to entering the theatre took less than five minutes.
The television screen just inside the theatre is the only place that displays the cast for that performance and I could see straight away that we would be seeing several understudies which I always look forward to as I have seen so many amazing understudies in different shows over the years. Our wonderful cast for Hamilton were:
Alexander Hamilton – Jamael Westman
Eliza Hamilton – Rachelle Anne Go
Aaron Burr – Sifiso Mazibuko (Standby)
Angelica Schuyler – Miriam-Teak Lee (Understudy)
George Washington – Gabriel Mokake (Understudy)
Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson – Jason Pennycooke
Hercules Mulligan / James Madison – Tarinn Callender
John Laurens / Philip Hamilton – Cleve September
Peggy Schuyler / Maria Reynolds – Marsha Songcome (Standby)
King George – Michael Jibson
Ensemble – Jade Albertson, Curtis Angus, Johnny Bishop, Leslie Garcia Bowman, Courtney-Mae Briggs, Jack Butterworth, Kelly Downing, Gregory Haney, Leah Hill, Chris Tendai and Lindsey Tierney.
The inside of the Victoria Palace Theatre was completely unrecognisable from my last visit there back in 1997. For the first time ever, there was not even a line to use any of the toilets (which there were so many of) which there usually is in most theatres. I did not want to buy any of the Hamilton merchandise but my boyfriend bought me a programme which cost £4.
Walking into the auditorium and seeing the iconic Hamilton set was an amazing feeling. We found our seats which were four rows from the stage and we had a great view. The atmosphere in the theatre whilst waiting for the show to start was electric – I have not experienced excitement like that in a theatre for a long time. Just before 7:30pm, King George’s voice welcomed us to “his” show and at last, it was time for Hamilton to begin.
The first act of Hamilton flew by. I’m not going to write an in-depth review on every song but highlights were definitely Satisfied, Wait For It and Yorktown not forgetting the show stealing You’ll Be Back. When the interval arrived, I could not put into words my thoughts about what I had already seen. Even though I had watched a bootleg from the Broadway production, nothing prepared me for seeing Hamilton in person. There was so much to take in and so much going on all around the stage that you were never sure where to look as you did not want to miss out on anything.
The highlight of Act Two for me was The Room Where it Happens – I’ve always loved the song anyway but seeing it performed on stage was something else. Also Sifiso Mazibuko who was playing Aaron Burr that night was incredible – he had such an amazing voice and stage presence and I could not take my eyes off him whenever he was on stage. During It’s Quiet Uptown, all you could hear was sobbing from the audience. That song definitely gets to you – it always gets me even when listening to the soundtrack in my car. The tears continued during The World Was Wide Enough and Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story. As the lights came up at the end of the show, the audience were already on their feet applauding the cast of Hamilton.
After such a long wait, I was so happy and relieved that Hamilton lived up to every high expectation that I had. Everything about the show is perfect and even now a week later, I still cannot stop thinking about it. We are already planning a return visit but will book seats either a little further back in the stalls or in the dress circle as I think we were sat too close to be able to see everything that was happening on the entire stage at once.
If you are even thinking about going to see it, just book the tickets now and do not look back – you will not regret it. I cannot wait to see it again!
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